Divorce Day: Why is January so popular for divorces?

It is a common belief and widely reported in the media that January is the most popular time of the year for married couples to start divorce proceedings. Here, McAlister Family Law Trainee, Adele Mawdsley, looks at some of the reasons why divorce rates are known to peak after the Christmas break.


Does Christmas Play A Part?

One suggestion is that there is a significant amount of stress on parents to create the ‘Perfect Christmas’ for their children. One of the biggest stresses in day-to-day life, especially at Christmas time, is financial stress.

Christmas time is hard on a lot of parents financially. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis, Money issues are responsible for 22% of all divorces, which can be magnified at Christmas especially with the ongoing cost of living crisis we are facing in the UK right now.

Couples may delay divorce proceedings until the new year to avoid disruption to their family. There can be a lot of pressure on couples, at Christmas, to look and act the part for their children and families. If you take away the Christmas gloss, couples may begin to notice substantial cracks in their relationship and the Christmas period can shine a light on their struggling situation, with them glad they made it through this period. Sadly, some come to the realisation that the marriage has come to an end.

The narrative of the media is that couples have admitted to staying with their other half for their children’s sake. Further to this couples have also reported in the media that they stay together for Christmas, so the children were not disturbed during the festive season. This could be why we see a significant rise in divorces on “Divorce Day” in January.


What is ‘Divorce Day’?

So-called “Divorce Day” falls on the first working Monday of the new year, this year it will fall on 8th January 2024. This day is known by legal professionals as the day which reportedly sees a surge of new enquires from couples who wish to apply for a divorce after the Christmas period. Statistics show that women are more likely to apply for divorce than men during this period, with 63.1% of divorces being instigated by women.

“Divorce Day” is a term used in the media to highlight the rise in cases in the new year but, obviously, divorces are issued all year round, with spikes being seen at other notable times of the year, like September after the summer holidays, for example. The rise in cases after school holidays may be because couples spend more time together then or they may have one last attempt at their marriage, which sadly has not worked.


Spending time with family

Some couples find it particularly hard to be cooped up at home, spending time with extended family members that they might not be used to spending time with, at Christmas time. The Christmas period can often highlight the realisation of how family life could be and what difficulties they are facing. This can put a lot of pressure on couples and, when the Christmas dust has settled, it  pushes some couples towards separation.


‘New Year New Me’

Everyone has their new year’s resolutions when we enter into a new year. People want a fresh start and if their marriage is already under strain, they may form a plan to separate. therefore leading to a potential spike in new divorce enquires in January.



So, what do you do if you are thinking of separation or even divorce? Get advice from an expert. Our team of specialist divorce solicitors can advise you about the divorce procedure.

The new law divorce law, which came into force in April 2022, more commonly known as ‘No fault divorce’ removes the requirement to assign blame and provide evidence of conduct or separation to obtain a divorce. This will hopefully allow your divorce to be more amicable.


If you or someone you know is affected by the issues raised in this blog post, we can provide you with expert legal advice. For more information, please get in touch with our specialist team at hello@mcalisterfamilylaw.co.uk


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